By BRIAN CUNNIFF
ERMA – It’s safe to say Brianna Robinson won’t forget the first game of her final high school lacrosse season.
The Middle Township senior scored the 100th goal of her career and later netted the game-winner with 51 seconds to play as the Lady Panthers rallied late to post a narrow 15-14 victory over rival Lower Cape May in the season opener for both teams Wednesday.
Robinson, who needed seven goals to reach 100 entering the game, scored eight times in the contest.
“She played like a senior captain does,” Middle coach Tina Prickett said proudly of Robinson.
The game went back and forth throughout but Lower Cape May forged ahead with its largest lead of the second half at 14-11 with six minutes to go before Middle rallied.
“We go through scenarios the last 10 minutes of practice all the time just to see how they’re going to react,” Prickett said. “You can only do so much as a coach, especially when you don’t have a timeout left. We just try to make sure everyone’s on the same page – the defense knows what they’re going and the offense knows what they’re doing. The girls stuck to the game plan.”
After tying the score with 2:27 to play, Middle won the next faceoff and took more than 1 ½ minutes off the clock before Robinson scored with 51 seconds to play to give her team the lead.
Lower won the next faceoff and had two chances to tie in the waning seconds, only to see one shot glance off the post and a second shot from close range get stopped by Middle goalkeeper Amelia Slick.
“That was a big ol’ save right there,” Prickett said with a laugh.
Maddyn McAnaney and Eliza Billingham each added three goals and Abbie Teefey and Holly Mader each chipped in one for Middle. Teefey also contributed three assists.
“Any success we have, it’s going to be a full team effort,” Prickett said. “Bri shined today, but it’s also what happened all over the field. Mia makes some big saves. The defense comes up with some turnovers. Everyone plays a part.”
Maggie Boyle scored seven times for Lower. Maddie Schiffbauer added three goals and Juslia Gibson and Sabrina Faulkner each added two.